Showing posts with the label doctoral

Are doctoral candidates switched on to the impact of social media?

Early in 2015 I conducted a bit of research about social media use at my institution (the University of Aberdeen). It was presented at the UK Council for Graduate Education, 2nd International Conference on Developments in Doctoral Education & Training Conference in 2015. I wrote up the findings and they were recently published in the proceedings. There are interesting papers covering all different areas of graduate training. The abstract for my paper is below and you can download the proceedings (my paper is on page 93).   by    Jhaymesisviphotography Are doctoral candidates switched on to the impact of social media?  Dr Heather Doran* and Dr Kenneth D. Skeldon *Corresponding author, University of Aberdeen, King’s College, Regent Walk, Old Aberdeen, AB24 3FX Abstract It might be assumed that today’s doctoral students are aware of and active in the use of social media tools in the course of their work. Here we question whether doctoral students are really util

The end of the PhD

My PhD has been printed off, handed in, examined, corrected, printed off again in hardbound form, signed off, handed back in and I have graduated. AT LAST!!! This is my last post about the PhD (I think!) and goes through some coping mechanisms I developed at the end when I was juggling finishing off with a full time job... Me and my younger sister at my graduation The end of the PhD was hard work. It's a long, time consuming process that I have mentioned previously . I'm currently working as a project officer in public engagement with research, my job involves evenings, weekends and general odd hours. Juggling both the job and the PhD was a bit tricky at times, but just about manageable. I had to allocate work, PhD and free time effectively and stop doing a number of things that I enjoy. I haven't spoken to friends or family as much as I wanted to. Finding time to write blogs that required research was tricky as I just didn't have the time. There were a numb

What makes a PhD Thesis?

*warning* this is a self-indulgent blog post. I am suffering from a large bout of PhD thesis 'tunnel vision'. All I can think about at the moment is the massive amount of work I have to do in such a short space of time. When you have three years of work, a computer full of data and a head full of thoughts and ideas... where do you start? The worry of unemployment also likes to creep in... I don't have a job lined up for when I finish (yet, but there are some things in the pipeline). My aim is to be mostly finished by October. My last payment from my PhD will be in August. My brain starts panicking about all of these things at random times throughout the day, and then I can't get anything done. It took me ages to get writing. I had a plan, but I still found it completely overwhelming.  I'm usually someone that forms a plan quickly and then gets going and I wasn't. So I started getting stressed about that. The hard work has been done already. I know I h

Should Scientists Be Audited?

I often wonder if  scientists (working on any project) in a university should be audited regularly. Audited by an independent person who is independent of the specific project, subject and research group. The scientists in question would have to show that they can trace the ingredients they are using for experiments and prove that results are real (maybe the auditor would sit in on an experiment). Would it help prevent mistakes, incorrect data, reduce paper retractions and increase credibility of science in general? Or would it just be a big waste of time, money and be a painful process for everyone involved? What do you think? When I worked in industry, we were regularly audited in everything we did. I used to exist in a form of organised chaos, but knowing that anyone could ask to look at anything at any time (and they did), I became super organised. It's a necessary, and very useful skill to have as a scientist but there isn't any pressure on me within

What Does a Biologist Do All Day?

I'm a molecular pharmacologist, but what on earth does that mean I do at 10am on a Monday? The vast majority of my PhD in Medical Sciences has been spent in a dark room, counting. Counting breast cancer cells that have moved. YES, moved. Let's start at the beginning. I work with breast cancer cells that have been taken from a donor who had breast cancer. Cancer cells can be grown in a laboratory environment if you give them the correct nutrients and keep them at the correct temperature, a cosy 37 degrees, just like in the body. The cells I use were collected back in the 1970s and have been kept growing in the lab ever since. Cancer cells can be grown on a flat surface (or in a solution), in plastic dishes, like this: The cells grow in 'media', a solution that contains all the nutrients they need to grow. The media is usually pink as it contains phenol-red, an indicator that changes colour if the pH of the media changes (pH needs to be around 7.2-7.4 for op

How to use Twitter

If you ever meet me in person I can, sometimes, sound like a broken record. I am somewhat.. persistent.. in my efforts to get every single PhD student I meet on, and using, Twitter. Surprisingly, although my generation is labelled as being, 'social networkers' the vast majority of people I know and meet are not on Twitter. Facebook yes. Twitter no. Twitter is for weirdos and celebrity stalkers. Oh my friends, how much you are missing out. Do you know that Professors are on Twitter? PIs are on Twitter? Post-docs are ADVERTISED and links made for post docs in the future are made through Twitter. (Sometimes I get a *gasp* at this stage, especially if the person I am talking to is a final year PhD student). Next question, so how do you DO it? How do you USE it? What happens in Twitter world? My response.. Twitter is what ever you want to make it, and it is up to you how you use it. You could use it to talk to the other three people in your lab and your mum. If you wanted to.

Cosmetic Science - Looking Behind the Formulations

Beauty is big business. You may snigger at the promises in cosmetic adverts but in reality the majority of cosmetic manufacturers take science very seriously. Procter and Gamble, the biggest consumer goods company in the world, invest $2bn yearly into research and development of consumer goods. L’OrĂ©al, the biggest cosmetics company in the world, employ over 3,000 researchers around the globe and have a grant programme specifically designed to support female scientists. Science is at the heart of these companies, and it shows in their financial reports. They encourage and invest in scientists and research in the hope of making the next great breakthrough. The biggest areas of growth for the cosmetics industry are developing markets, male cosmetics and the ever-ageing world population. The L’Oreal annual report from 2010 estimates that the global cosmetics market is worth 144 billion Euros and of that, 32% is skincare. If these manufacturers could crack the science and inven

Things I wish I had known when I started my PhD

I am entering the final stretch of my PhD and here is a list of things that I wish I had known (or things I wish someone would have told me) when I started my PhD...